NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 17th (All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (28-25-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (28-22-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - An important interconference encounter between playoff hopefuls takes place tonight in Toronto, where the Maple Leafs welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the Air Canada Centre.
Both clubs currently stand on the fringe of the postseason race in their respective conferences. The Maple Leafs come in tied with Montreal and the New York Islanders for the eighth and final spot in the East, while Edmonton resides in ninth place in the West and is six points behind Minnesota for the conference's last seed.
The Oilers are in the midst of a crucial seven-game road trip, a trek which began with consecutive losses to Northeast Division members Boston and Buffalo. Edmonton did manage a point it last time out, a 2-1 overtime defeat to the Sabres on Thursday in which Daniel Briere netted the clinching goal 1:02 into the extra session.
The loss spoiled a very good outing from Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who turned back 29-of-31 shots on the evening. Shawn Horcroff tallied the only Edmonton goal.
Toronto put itself back into the playoff picture with a season-high five-game win streak from January 27-February 6, then proceeded to lose its next three contests before rebounding with Thursday's road victory over lowly Philadelphia. Mats Sundin compiled a goal and an assist to spark the Leafs to a 4-2 decision on the night the Flyers shipped star center Peter Forsberg to Nashville in a three-player deal.
Jeff O'Neill, Nik Antropov and Carlo Colaiacovo also netted goals for Toronto, while Andrew Raycroft made 34 saves in the triumph.
The Maple Leafs hope to put aside their season-long struggles at the Air Canada Centre, where the team is just 11-12-5 for the campaign and has lost two straight. In contrast, Toronto is an impressive 17-10-3 on the road.
Edmonton brings only a 10-14-3 mark as the visitor into tonight's tilt, however, and has mustered a league-low 55 goals on the road.
The Oilers will be invading Toronto for the first time since November 8, 2003, a 4-1 Leafs' win. Edmonton has lost seven of the last eight as the road team in this series.
02/17 10:40:11 ET